When the Buffalo Bills used the 16th overall selection of April’s draft on E.J. Manuel, they surprised a lot of people. However, after an impressive pre-season, Manuel is poised to make his NFL debut on Sunday vs. the Patriots.
Manuel underwent minor knee surgery on August 18th, to clean out his meniscus, but was able to return to practice last week. The Bills don’t expect health to be an issue come Sunday, and 1st year coach Doug Marrone should implement a heavy dosage of C.J. Spiller to take some of the pressure off Manuel.
From a fantasy perspective, I wouldn’t necessarily write off Manuel. Is he RG3? No. Is he Russell Wilson? Probably not. However, he’s a quarterback to monitor because of his high ceiling. Coming off a pre-season in which he went 26 for 33 with 199 yards, 2 TDs, and no INTs, Manuel has impressed many with his confidence in the pocket. Compared to backups like Matt Schaub, Alex Smith, Carson Palmer, Jay Cutler, and Josh Freeman, Manuel has the potential to be a fairly effective QB in 1 QB fantasy leagues as he becomes more immersed with the Bills offense.
While this year’s rookie draft class is significantly less impressive than the 2012 class, Manuel has the skill set to surpass those who were skeptical of him warranting a 1st round selection.
In fantasy leagues where you start 2 QBs or have the option to put a QB in the flex, Manuel is well-worth a stash on your bench.